AFP, 16 May 2009
THE HAGUE (AFP) — The United States will allow one of its diplomats to be questioned in court about an alleged immunity deal with Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic, a letter revealed Friday said.
“The US has begun the process to allow the government diplomat to be interrogated,” said a letter dated Thursday from the US Embassy in the Hague to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
It added that the US has told Karadzic’s legal advisor it required an ICTY guarantee that any information given either during an interview or in the form of documents had to be confidential.
Karadzic, 63, claims he struck a deal with top US official Richard Holbrooke in July 1996.
In return for disappearing from the public eye, he would be shielded from prosecution by the ICTY, he says.
Karadzic has requested that Lawrence Butler, a former diplomat in the US Embassy in Belgrade, whom he says was present at the time of Holbrooke’s secret deal, be questioned.
Holbrooke, who was the US peace negotiator in Bosnia at the that time, has insisted that no such deal existed.
Karadzic was arrested on a Belgrade bus posing as a doctor called Dragan Dabic in 2008, 13 years after he was first indicted by the ICTY.
He faces 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide related to his role in Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war.
Among other things, the prosecution has charged Karadzic with having sought to “permanently remove” Bosnian Muslims and Croats from Serb-claimed territory, and to “eliminate” Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica.